This article explores how the Portuguese legal system’s efforts to determine paternity of children born outside legal marriage, automatically initiated by the Registry Office when a birth registration does not indicate the father, reveal cultural models which reinforce the naturalisation of the differences between mothers and fathers, with significant effects on the social construction of parental roles and on expectations of family organisation and female sexual behaviour. The article relies on ethnographic data drawn from direct observation of court proceedings for the determination of paternity, as well as interviews with judges and prosecuting counsels all over the country. It is argued that judicial practices in the specific context of courtroom investigations of paternity reinforce gender inequalities in two interrelated ways. On the one hand, they are strengthened in the discursive practices performed during the course of the interactions between judges, prosecuting counsels and the mother of the child, as well as the alleged father. On the other hand, the normative model of family life and the dominant ideology of women’s and men’s relationships, which emphasise women’s socially subordinate position, are revealed by the selective use of DNA testing in paternity cases, based on the judge’s evaluation of the mother’s sexual behaviour. The article argues that legal attempts to establish the paternity of children born outside marriage—though based on novel technical and supposedly objective procedures—tend, nevertheless, to reproduce the prevailing patriarchal structures.
Title: - Conservation Genetics @ 2011-08-01
When animals are difficult to observe while breeding, insights into the mating system may be gained by using molecular techniques. Patterns of extra-pair copulation, multiple paternity and parental genotype analysis may elucidate population characteristics that help improve knowledge of life history while informing management decisions. During the course of a long-term study of leatherback turtles, we assessed the level of multiple paternity in successive clutches for 12 known females nesting at Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge (St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands). We used seven polymorphic microsatellite markers to genotype the females and 1,019 hatchlings representing 38 nests (3–4 clutches from each female). Using deductive genotype reconstruction and GERUD1.0, we identified the 12 mothers and 17 different fathers that were responsible for 38 nests. We found that seven females (58.3%) showed no evidence of multiple paternity in their clutches, while five females (41.7%) had mated with two males each. There was evidence of two fathers (polyandry) in successive clutches for these five females. Multiple fathers didn’t contribute to clutches equally. For clutches laid by an individual female, the primary father was responsible for 53.7 to 85.9% of the hatchlings. We demonstrate the feasibility of using male genotype reconstruction to characterize the male component of this breeding population and to assess operational sex ratios for breeding sea turtles.